I hiked up to the Lackenkogel (2,051 m) for the first time as a teenager and the impressive mountain didn’t just command my utmost respect, but was also physically demanding. With regard to the Salzburg Summit Game I quickly realised that the Lackenkogel could be none other than the “Watchman“ in the Salzburger Sportwelt. From far away, already, it rises up to the heavens, as if nothing and nobody can shake it and that’s exactly what it wants to teach us: to be courageous, self-confident and to have total trust in our own strengths.
Let get one thing straight,though: the hike up to the Lackenkogel is not a stroll in the park. You definitely require stamina, staying power and good physical condition to conquer the peak in around four to five hours. Yet, that’s how it should be: a watchman is not someone who is easily conquerable!
You start off from the sports ground in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee and already from the starting point you have your destination in sight. Therefore it’ so amazing to see how quickly you gain altitude on your two legs.
And that’s how this tour to the Lackenkogel progresses: quite soon you’re looking down on the picturesque resort of Altenmarkt and after two hours you come to the Sattelbauer. You can also drive up to this popular mountain guesthouse by car from Flachau and shorten the tour somewhat. Those coming from Altenmarkt can make a first refreshment stop here or simply use the break to observe the cheeky goats in their enclosure.
The Watchman’s ritual, like on all the other mountains too, is performed at the peak. Yet, a little tip beforehand: those that wish to, may carefully pick a few larch or pine needles and rub them between their fingers. In order to enter the kingdom of the Watchman, the summit player can rub their wrists with this enchanting woody aroma. What’s so good about that? Well, tree needles smell better than any perfume and you become energetically entwined with the mountains and landscape. You dip into the magical world of the Watchman – just like shaking hands with friendly hosts welcoming you at the door.
The route from the Sattlerbauer up to the peak leads alternately along a forest track or a steeper trail to the idyllic Lackenalmen. The dark “Lacken“ (pools), which are also called “heaven’s ponds“ by the locals, the peacefully grazing Scottish Highland cattle and the alpine huts make this alpine pasture area a real gem and it’s no surprise that it counts as one of the most scenic of its type in the Upper Enns Valley.
The Lackenkogel towers above the alpine pasture: and it’s from here I head up on the final, one-hour long climb up to the summit. Along rooty trails and between blueberry bushes to this fantastic mountain for views, from where you can see as far as the Watzmann, the Grimming, the Sonnblick and the highest mountain in Austria, the 3,798 m high Grossglockner.
Up on the top you can feel the power of the Watchman: an unexpected feeling of greatness, far-sightedness and grandeur pervade: the ritual is a revitalizing, encouraging tapping massage, which you can do on you own or as a couple. And one which you should note for challenging situations in life.
You head back down into the valley along the same trail. with a talisman in your rucksack and a short stop for refreshment at an alpine hut halfway down. As strength has to be built up: treating yourself well – by way of culinary delights too – is a pre-requisite for awakening the energy of the Watchman within you.
photo credits: Salzburger Sportwelt, Michael Grössinger, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee Tourismus